Trumpet Etiquette

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by rikkijustmike, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I was once hired for an Easter gig, and when talking to my point of contact over the phone, a gentleman I knew only by name, I mentioned that one of my strengths was that I played a good second to a solid lead. I think he interpreted that to mean that I wasn't a strong lead player, because when I got to the rehearsal for this job, it was clear that I was a more seasoned and capable player than the guy hired to play the lead parts.

    I was about 25 at the time and my ego had a real issue with it, but my wife (a non-musician, I might add) reminded me that the professional thing to do would be to simply play the part I was hired to play, so that's exactly what I did. I kept my mouth shut unless there was something that needed to be said, and I played the music placed before me to the best of my ability - then I collected my check and went on my merry way.
  2. R.T. Swing

    R.T. Swing Pianissimo User

    Feb 6, 2007
    ask to play festival overture by Tchaikovsky. It must have the coolest 4th part ever written.
  3. Big Daddy

    Big Daddy Mezzo Piano User

    Mar 22, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA

    You must be patient as you just joined an established band. Do the best you can in your chair and become a leader in other ways and if you are truly much better than the others when an opportunity arises you will move up and be able to shine much more.

    How would you feel if you were in the top chair and some new person who played better than you came in and wanted your chair instantly.

    Remember the institution you represent by displaying it on your page as we are taught you can't be raised until you are entered and passed which requires much work.

    -Brother Meyers
  4. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    Most community bands are there to benefit the musicians in the area. Strong egos can do more harm than good. The best thing for you to do is just play the heck out of whatever part you're assigned . The best example of this was the Queensborough Community Orchestra's third trumpet. When he couldn't make a rehearsal and the conductor asked my friend to sub for this person. My friend jokingly said he would do it,only if the conductor would tell everyone who he subbed for . Bill Vacchiano. When Vacchiano retired he joined the community orchestra because he loved to play.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  5. oldlou

    oldlou Forte User

    Aug 28, 2005
    Grand Rapids, Mi.
    Three years ago in one of the community concert bands that I had been playing in for a couple of years, since my comeback from a 45 year hiatus, I was playing second chair first trumpet. We had two former school band directors join our band. In the case of one of them, he had retired from a high school band program in Arizona and then went to Hollywod as a studio musician. Then, he came back to his old home in Michigan. The other new trumpeter had just been downsized out of his job as a nearby school band director and had also been heavily exposed to professional work. Soon after these two came to our band I realised that both were far better than I and that caused me to trade folders with one of them, Putting me on first chair second trumpet. For the benefit of the band I stepped down. I now play about equal parts of first and second trumpet at the request of one of those guys. I don't mind playing second book. It is in many ways much more challenging that the melodic first part.

  6. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    That is an EXCELLENT story!! Brings tears to my eyes.

    In the community band or orchestra, it is about the music and the opportunity to play. You should play the heck out of your part, and enjoy! And don't forget to take the time to get to know the folks around you (that you don't already know). There's more to it than who plays what. They are human beings just like you and might be pretty damed interesting if you could get your ego out of the way long enough to get to know them. You may even make some friends - remember what those are?

    You wanna be a prima-donna? Start your own band.
  7. gglassmeyer

    gglassmeyer Piano User

    Apr 28, 2006
    Cincinnati, OH
    In our band, we have a large number of trumpet players many of whom have been around for a long time. Some only want to play 3rd part, some only 2nd, and some only 1st. If someone new comes into the band we usually have no troubles with asking them what part they would like to play. If they want 1st and we already have too many 1st players, we'll ask them to play another part for this concert and switch with someone the next concert. Or play half 2nd and half 1st etc. Since most people aren't pro musicians, a lot of times the guys playing 1st want a little break.

    We also have a section leader whole doles out the parts and he knows our strengths as individuals. He knows if there's a part that is exposed to pick one of us hardy souls who won't chicken out. Or if something requires more technique, like double tonguing on Bugler's Holiday, certain players are better choices.

    If you continue to stay with the band over the course of a season or 2 and still don't get a chance to play more challenging parts, mention to the director that you would like to split up some of the parts.

    A lot of community band folks will willingly defer to better players. Some folks in small bands are playing 1st because no one else was there to do it. They may be struggling and glad to give up the part.
  8. The Dutch Guy

    The Dutch Guy Piano User

    Sep 22, 2008
    there are 4 ways of getting in a band

    -there's no opening, and you ask to play with them. Usually you'll get a chair on the bottom half.

    -there is no set number of chairs. You ask if you can join them. this is your situation, I believe. You'll get what they think they need.

    -there's an opening. And you want to join them. Obviously you get the empty chair. That might be 1st, might be 4th

    -there's one or more openings, and they ask YOU to join them. This is pretty much the only situation where you can negotiate what chair you get, because you've got leverage. Even so, you shouldn't necessarily demand only the 1st chair, but a combination of 1st and 2nd chair as a compromise is much more inviting for the players allready in the band.

    that said: I started as last trumpet in a row of 8. That's 10 years ago. Now I play 1st trumpet, but 2nd chair (so there's one person above me). The players are still more or less the same.
    How did I do it? I showed up on all rehearsals I could, practised a lot, and every few years, asked the conductor if I could get a promotion.

    During those years I've joined 3 other bands. in 2 of them I was asked to play, because there weren't enough other trumpet players. I got full lead parts in those. I only got those because a lot of the musicians knew me, and knew I could play well enough, which was the reason they asked me in the first place.
    The third one is a very close group. (also, it's not really a community band, but still amateurs) We do a lot of long (paid) gigs with challenging music. there's absolutely NO competition whatsoever. We're not pro's, so none of us can keep playing lead for 3 hours straight, so we all have 1st and 2nd parts, and 3rd if they exist, and there's no lead player.
    besides that, in that style of music (eastern european, german, dutch) there's a good chance that a piece has both trumpet AND cornet, or trumpet AND flugel pieces. and of both a 1st and 2nd part. we're 4 in total, so that means everyone has a different part.
  9. rikkijustmike

    rikkijustmike New Friend

    Jul 30, 2010
    Great advice from everyone! I see where my postings seemed egotistical and being honest, I can be. It isn't "1st chair" that I'm after, it's the thrill of the hunt, I guess.

    I'm not as selfish as my posts seem to have made me look and I'm NOT a world champion trumpet player. I am pretty good, however and I owe almost all of my success to my 2nd chairs in high school and college. They were excellent and that made me work harder.

    More than ego, though, I just want there to be some good natured competition. Not the kind that tears down, but the kind that builds. Maybe I'll have to find a competitive outlet somewhere else and enjoy the lil' community band for what it is. We're having a GREAT time hanging out with the group.

    We had our second meeting of the season last night and I played a little of 1st and 2nd. My wife and I love the group and you are all correct about settling in first being the best course of action. My wife wants me to sit by her, so I'll keep doing second unless I'm needed elsewhere.

    The section leader is a beast when it comes to sight reading (personal weakness), so I think I can learn some things from him.

    Thanks for all of the feedback, everyone. Sorry that I came off as such a D-bag.

  10. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Our real intentions are often very hard to express in writing - when it is so easy to :-) when dealing with people face to face. Misunderstandings happen :dontknow: and bears do stuff in the woods :shock: . No biggy ;-), enjoy your community band as we do :thumbsup: and be happy :play:.

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